When Deals Go Bad

by on October 7, 2011 · 64 comments

in American Express, General TPG Business

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A TPG reader sent me an email recently that made me think about my role as a blogger and my responsibility for the deals I post about. He was angry because he had just gotten off the phone with an American Express representative who denied him a bump bonus that had previously been promised to him. Seeing no other person to vent to, he sent me a somewhat harshly worded email that I should take responsibility for the deals gone bad.

I know many of you are upset about what’s been going on with the Amex bonuses and I just wanted to address your concerns because I understand that not getting a bonus you expected can be extremely frustrating. I do want to point out that, when I post about deals or bonuses, they are working. Sometimes, by the time readers get around to taking advantage of them, they have gone away. That sucks, I know, but that’s the nature of points.

It can be impossible to know – even when companies set deadlines on deals – how long they’ll be good for. Through my own research and your helpful comments, I try to stay as up-to-date as possible on what’s working and what’s not so that I can keep you informed, walking you through the process. I vet the deals I include on my site, and I don’t post ones that seem to have a high risk of being bogus.

I think the Amex bump code did turn into a big debacle on their part, but for the record, many people (myself included) have gotten massive point paydays from the Amex bump codes I posted on TPG and by taking some of the actions I prescribed. Unfortunately, it had to end sometime and there are a lot of people caught in limbo right now. The thing is, while uncertainty is bad enough, it’s still better than knowing for sure that you’re not getting those points, and it’s not too late to fight!

To me, it’s like a game of chess – often when you are backed up against the wall and think there’s no way out, you can maneuver and try something new that ends up getting you even more points than you expected. It’s those windfalls that really make it worth it, and you have to be willing to take some risks and put in the effort (sometimes quite a lot of effort!).

The Amex Bump Code

From my perspective, if an American Express agent confirmed that you were eligible for a bonus (and this is the important point: someone must have told you that you were getting it) if you completed a certain amount spend and you followed your end of the bargain, then you should get it. The calls are recorded and they know this issue happened and people are still getting their points with enough persistence.

A main reason why I haven’t had an updated blog post on the matter is because you should wait 6-8 weeks from hitting your spend to see if the points post automatically. Some people are reporting automatic bonuses (some people even got double dips – manual and automatic bonuses hitting their accounts), so don’t panic just yet.

Some readers might disagree with me, but unless you complain before the masses do, I’d advise not staging your battle for the points in the heat of the moment until some of the hubbub dies down. Amex is still figuring out how to deal with this and they are currently making people run in circles. Instead of wasting your time, see how it shakes out and then plan your attack accordingly. They may end up granting exceptions for those who have recorded confirmation of the bonus. Just be sure you have documentation and a clear strategy when you contact them.

Tips on Getting the Bump

However, if you want to fight it now, here are a couple quick tips:

1) Write down all of the facts. When you applied for the card, when you called for the bump, who promised it to you, what promo ID it was and any other important information.

2) Document when you completed the requirements of the bonus.

3) Summarize your history with American Express – how many years have you been a member, how much spend do you do annually, etc

4) Call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak to Membership Rewards.

5) Calmly state that you were confirmed X bonus and you’d like to confirm the points will post. You’ll likely be rebuffed by a rep who is tired of dealing with this issue. Ask to speak to a manager. The manager will also probably be exasperated dealing with this and may even make you feel like a bad person. This is frustrating, but document everything including whom you speak to. Calmly state the facts from 1-3. Try to be as nice and rational as possible, but understand that your blood pressure may start to boil. They will most likely reject you, but you never know – some people have gotten the points.

6) If you don’t get the points while on the phone, try sending a secure message. Just log into and you’ll see a message box on the top right displaying how many messages you have. Click on the number, then compose message with all your facts noted. You will most likely be rejected, but you never know. You should try to take care of this through the usual channels above before going for option seven below.

7) Mail or call the executive office with your dissatisfaction with the customer service you’ve received. Membership Rewards is just one department within a huge company, so if management gets a lot of complaints about customer service, they may decide to override their decision. Once again, succinctly state the facts – make your complaint about the fact that you were confirmed for a promotion by a representative of American Express and now they are going back on their word. Let them know how that makes you feel as a cardmember and state your action. You want to be able to trust American Express to be your primary card issuer, but you are having a hard time doing that based on this situation.

Here is the corporate contact information for Amex courtesy of Consumerist:
American Express Company
Executive Offices
200 Vesey Street
New York, New York 10285

Share Your Information

Please feel free to comment on this post to share your experience with other TPG readers. I’d also highly recommend following the Flyertalk thread on this issue to understand the ebb and flow of this saga. My experience with American Express has always been very positive, so I hope they will do the right thing in the end and honor the commitments they’ve made to their cardholders.

You Matter

In the end, I want to make it clear that my readers are my boss. While I have made a full-time living out of blogging and in turn take advertising/referral money – my main goal is to provide each and every one of you value when you visit my site every day. I can’t be totally responsible for how each and every deal turns out, but like I said, I do my best to bring you the best ones out there. The quest for miles and points is often a bumpy road (for me, too!) and there will be deals that go awry, but it’s all about reacting calmly and coolly and learning how to attack the next deal – because there are bound to be plenty more great ones out there, and I look forward to bringing them to you!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • TK

    Thank you Brian for this calm and measured post. You also had a post a few weeks ago saying something like “sometimes deals go bad – don’t freak out” and I think that’s correct.

    I’m one of the people waiting in limbo for my 75k points. But I still got 25k and all the features of the card, so it’s not like the sky is falling. That said, 75k points would be nice.

  • SapphireisBetterthanAmexNow

    I’d like to second TK in thanking you for writing this post. I too am unfortunately in limbo waiting for my points. Being a long time AMEX card holder it’s disappointing to see how they are acting. I was actually told by a manager that since the notes didn’t literally say “promise or guarantee” the points, the call could’ve just been an inquiry about the bonus codes and there was nothing they could do. I’ve been waiting 3 weeks to hear back about the result of them reviewing the recorded call and am not holding my breath.

    I understand that this is an ongoing process and somedays you get the dog and somedays the dog gets you. Pointing out the risks/downsides of a deal AND I think more importantly calling out companies whose referral links provide your primary source of income is what makes your readers trust/respect you. Calling out BA for changing their program is one thing, calling out AMEX with active card referrals running is another.

    Keep up with the good content and showing people how to get value out of the points actually received. How many points you earn is only half the equation, redeeming them for value being the other.

  • Angel

    Excellent post Brian. As you said, this is a “game” and I’m also waiting for 75K points to post. On the other hand I collected over 750k point this year alone using all the info you post here so I really can’t complaint. If we were promised points, I think the right thing to do for Amex would be to honor those promises. I’ll fight for them and try every single strategy in order to get what was promised. In then end, if all fails, I can cancel my cards and move my spending to Chase Sapphire or to the BA card in order to get the 2 x 1 certificate :)
    Amex has always been terrific for me so I’m counting on them…..but you never know. Anyhow, keep up the good work. We, your loyal readers, really appreciate it.

  • nskh

    1. People need to chill out. Getting or not getting points is not a big deal. Brian does a great job compiling offers, evaluating them, and writing cohesive pieces about them.

    2. Brian is not to blame for the whims of a credit card company.

    3. When receiving points on a bonus offer, take your winnings and run. There is a thing as too much greed. Maximize, yes. Game the system, sure. Fool the company, don’t expect to prevail every time.

  • Gpapadop

    Add me to the waiting queue too! I am waiting for 100k and at this point I am not too hopeful. I did find an agent over the phone to add the code. But the spend has been done & my two inquiries in the secured email have been shut down and…this may be a start of the new policy—->they opened an inquiry and they will look into it whether I was indeed targeted for the bonus! I just received a letter stating this and they will get back to me within 30 days. Wow! Obviously my plea to get the points in time for the Continental transfer went to deaf ears. Frustrating but…this is the way the wind blows in this hobby. I am waiting for someone to say “class action” lawsuit any day now:-)

  • lumber

    I’m in the same boat. I was promised with 75K on personal and 100K on business. I met the requirement for the personal card, but so far no success getting it even if it was before 9/1 cut(?). I’m not sure if I should meet the spending requirement for the business card (bonus id 6608 with $2K spending). Putting $2K on Sappahire would be more beneficial if I don’t get the bonus.

  • Dhammer53

    Brian, You’re just the messenger. Most/many of us appreciate your ‘tips’. Thanks.

  • Jax

    Yes, its true the deals can sour but its definitely no fault of yours! I actually had a similar incident where Chase Ultimate rewards denied my 50,000 bonus miles bump which I had promised to me in an email, but when I called to inquire about them was told to fax some stuff in, and then denied the miles. I went a little crazy myself since I had it in writing and had every intention of following up with a phone rep. Instead, about 72 hours later I decided to reply to the original email again and play dumb, simply asking where my points were since I met the min. spend required. Got the points within 24 hours… Patience and the Brian rule of ASK NICELY wins again! :) Thanks as always Brian!

  • Arusti

    I am a rookie at this. I am not sure how others feel but I have benefited a lot by following your blog.

    Me and my wife have made almost 600,000 points in the last 3 or 4 months.

    FYI – both me and my wife got the manual and the automatic bonus for our premier rewards card for a total of 250,000 (125 each )

    Thanks Points Guy !

  • Josh_brooks

    Which promotion is this thread referring to?

  • M Pranivong

    Agreed, sometimes the deal workout.

  • Senorric

    As is always stated, YMMV!

  • Jacob

    I called in and calmly stated that I believed I was qualified for offer 6661 as I have never had a previous AMEX and met the spend requirements. I stated that I wasn’t targeted for the offer but a friend was and I felt I met the same qualifications as those targeted. She was very nice and bumped me to the 75K bonus. I didn’t try for the extra 50K points for the multiple transactions as I didn’t want to get greedy and risk my 75K points getting rejected.

  • maryj

    I’m one of those who was promised a bump but after waiting the requisite 6-8 weeks, called in to check with AMEX and was told that there was no record whatsoever of the conversation I had with them even though my phone showed the date and time when I called them. AMEX used to have excellent customer service but with this debacle I think they were instructed to not give in to anything, even if THEY were at fault….too bad…

  • mikes

    Even though this is obviously YMMV information, you do a great job of explicitly stating which deals appear to be targetted, which are technically expired, etc. Don’t let one person get to you. You are doing a great job.

  • Anon

    I’m not new at the credit card stuff and I read FT and a few bloggers regularly. I do appreciate Brian and Darius and Rick and others at posting these deals. I do understand that not all deals work out (I’ve met the spend and wait time and is in dispute over 6608). Having said that, I remembered that around the August timeframe, there had been a number of entries all highlighting the Amex cards and to apply via the blog’s link (like I said, I can’t remember if it’s just here or elsewhere – i think it’s various blogs). But I mean, it was ALL over. Premier Rewards card. Business cards. Everyone applied as a result and then Amex shut down the “bump the bonus” which they’ve always allowed for a “long” time. I just think even when touting a new “deal”, do it in a measured way. Maybe just one post about it, and not multiple posts reminding people about the deal. I think people should take advantage of these deals, but reposting the deals once too many times is the fastest way to see it killed. This amex debacle is clearly a good example. In that sense, I think bloggers bears some responsibility in making sure that they don’t effectively kill these deals so quickly by repeatedly highlighting it. Once is fine. Readers bear the responsibility to read through the blogs to see whether they want to take advantage of a deal.

    Is the wait 30 days or 10 days for most people in dispute? For those who did the dispute, what was the result? I’m not confident that I’ll get my points, but we’ll see.

  • Anon

    I’m not new at the credit card stuff and I read FT and a few bloggers regularly. I do appreciate Brian and Darius and Rick and others at posting these deals. I do understand that not all deals work out (I’ve met the spend and wait time and is in dispute over 6608). Having said that, I remembered that around the August timeframe, there had been a number of entries all highlighting the Amex cards and to apply via the blog’s link (like I said, I can’t remember if it’s just here or elsewhere – i think it’s various blogs). But I mean, it was ALL over. Premier Rewards card. Business cards. Everyone applied as a result and then Amex shut down the “bump the bonus” which they’ve always allowed for a “long” time. I just think even when touting a new “deal”, do it in a measured way. Maybe just one post about it, and not multiple posts reminding people about the deal. I think people should take advantage of these deals, but reposting the deals once too many times is the fastest way to see it killed. This amex debacle is clearly a good example. In that sense, I think bloggers bears some responsibility in making sure that they don’t effectively kill these deals so quickly by repeatedly highlighting it. Once is fine. Readers bear the responsibility to read through the blogs to see whether they want to take advantage of a deal.

    Is the wait 30 days or 10 days for most people in dispute? For those who did the dispute, what was the result? I’m not confident that I’ll get my points, but we’ll see.

  • Anon

    I disagree with some of the other posters saying bloggers bare no responsibility. If a blogger asks people to use her link on her website so that she gets some type of credit, monetary payback, award, or any other type of perk then the blogger should get some of the “blame.” That is the nature of no longer being a neutral reporter. If a blogger doesn’t like that then she should either not accept perks from having people use her link and/or put a clear concise disclaimer warning people of the risks.

    That being said, these targeted offers are always YMMV and your own responsibility when you sign up for them. I remember Brian saying several times in a post, that the credit card offer was targeted and expired and that it may NOT work.

  • Bexho2000

    Thank you Brian for all the hard work and thought you have put in all your posts. i am one of those that took the gamble (it’s a gamble, isn’t it?) and followed your advice when you posted about the codes. I made the call after the card arrived as you had instruvted and the agent promised to bump the bonus. I insisted he notate my account (you had strongly suggested this and I thank you!). After I spent the required amount and the 1st statement was issued I called in. the said I was entitled for the 15k but I had to wait until the end of the 2nd statement (the caard needs you to pay your balance before rewarding points for the closed period). I waited but nothing posted. So I called again. The Amex cust svc rep told me I should get 15k – I politely asked him to go over the notes on my acoount and he transferred me to the Membership Rewards program Rep. After explaining my situation the membership rep immediately authorized the 75k bonus as he verified the notation. Within 2 days I had two bonuses posted 75k and another 10k which I had no idea why …but I did not care to ask (why should have I?!?!!).
    So to all of us follower on this blog – just be patient and call the right people. AMEX customer service usually have no idea and often do not want to grant “wishes” – CALL AMEX MEMBERSHIP REWARS PROGRAM, based on my experience – they still do value customer relationship and its easier for them to issue points because they have the power and the codes to make life easier!!!

    Thanks again Points Guy!

  • SammySpade

    I didn’t get the bonus either. I applied in late August though and was never promised by AMEX rep I would get it. But thats not at all your fault (or the fault of the person on a message board I learned of the deal from). I decided to apply for the card. People are responsible for the decisions they make and for weighing the pro/cons and potential risks & complications. I ‘d imagine most people doing this are adults. People shouldn’t expect to get spoon-fed and have their hand held through everything.

  • Anonymous

    Brian – you do a fantastic job of compiling information and spelling out the options (pros and cons) on many deals out there. What you find are deals that work for some and not the other. It’s like a sale – sometimes you catch it, and sometimes you don’t- so with these points and offers, YMMV. I believe that if we are the beneficiaries of bonuses, that’s exactly it. No one is obligated to give you a bonus unless you meet the thresholds or are part of the target. Don’t like the deal you end up with? Cancel the card, back out.

    I am just appeciative that TPG is here to inform us of all the options – I have managed to bump to Gold status when DL had their offer with AX transfer (missed their reminder emails, but TPG highlighted it!) and I am in for swapping my BA Chase (having received the 100K bonus) for the Chase Preferred Bonus (50K) and the AX bonus is pending. These are for public offers out there and Brian helped me stay on top of the game. It may not be 500K in bonuses, but I know what I am in for, and what is realistic. Keep blogging.

  • Michael

    I find you are not only a great travel
    Blogger but an advocate for your readers. That said, you certainly are not responsible when a company backs out of a promotion. Sometimes the hazard of promoting great deals is a company becomes overwhelmed and has to act defensive (like BA or AC changing their redemptions Or USAIR now charging more to purchase Miles). It’s really unfair to blame the messenger when this happens but sometimes people like to vent to “insiders” or on blogs with like-minded readers, as in this case.

  • Yaswanth

    Brian you might have a good point about waiting this out. I’m waiting on 275K points wit the Platinum, PRG, and Business Gold cards. I’ll wait the full 8 weeks and if the points don’t show I’ll give them a call even though I am not looking forward to it! Hopefully I get at least 1 bonus out of the 3 that I was told I was eligible for and promised.

  • qbrain

    I expect you to bare the full financial burden of this bump the bonus fiasco being the fine, upstanding blogger that you are. How much did the bump the bonus fiasco cost me again? Nothing? Crap. Let me log back in as an anon and bitch about you for a while instead.

  • MJLouise

    Amen. I also appreciate your reasoned, cautious approach. YMMV indeed, and it never hurts to ask.

    And the tutorials on how to do things are fantastic — more than just a “here’s a deal that everyone is talking about” approach. Blog on.

  • emily

    I think the vast majority of us really appreciate those codes so please keep posting them. We know, because you always tell us, that they might not work and YMMV.

    I had no problem getting the bonus on the PRG, but I’m having trouble with the Platinum. I applied to them within a couple of weeks of each other and both times had it confirmed by a rep that I would receive those points. Eight weeks after meeting the spend, I called about the PRG and the first person said I wasn’t targeted but she would give them to me anyway. Eight weeks on the Platinum just hit this week, and when I called today I was told that the reps can no longer give out Amex points because of this problem costing the company too much money. She said she if a rep told me I would receive them I could set up a case via mail and they would review the case and make a decision. I called back and was told the same thing by a second rep (who unfortunately knew I had just called). She said the same thing – they don’t have the power to give points anymore because of “fraudulent use” of the targeted offers. She also said my only option was to mail a formal complaint and gave me the address.

    Does anyone have any experience with this? Is it even worth a shot??? I don’t know the dates and times of my calls or anything; I call Amex all the time to ask for stuff. So I don’t know what to do…

  • rr

    Your angry reader should be ashamed of him/herself. We have soldiers risking their lives and 1 out of 10 people in this country cannot find, let alone get, a job. We in this “game” should all take a moment once in a while to reflect and/or refocus.

  • tassojunior

    The 10K bonus per on monthly spend was a no-go from get go. However, the 10K per adding each AU (the Argentine bonus) worked fine so long as it was noted on your account. Problem with it was it triggered financial reviews on many of us. I cancelled all cards because annual fees were coming up anyway but in spite of that I got 110K points first (on personal and biz). I’ve had all AmEx cards anyway except for Platinum and AmEx is almost impossible to churn.

  • Heartfortheharvest

    Thanks for the article and for the advice. As for me, I’m very disappointed with AM EX. I have a secured message confirming my bonus miles plus two phone calls after that to confirm and AM EX still denied. I’m not a big customer for them (average of $500 per month) so they are not worried about losing me but I wonder what would happen if they eventually lost ‘us little guys’. I guess the lesson to learn is this…even if you have the name of the AM EX who promises you bonus miles and the name of the AM EX who promises you bonus miles via a secure message, there’s no guarantee. We should be happy with what we have received.

  • NoForeignFeesCAM

    This is unrelated but I wanted to let folks know that DISCOVER just sent me email telling me THEY WILL NO LONGER CHARGE A FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE AFTER NOVEMBER 6, 2011!! Anybody else get this notice?

    Is this beginning of a trend for cards?

  • Anonymous

    Thats awesome news- I hope bogus foreign transaction fees become a thing of the past!

  • Bill

    Jacob – when did you do this? Recently?

  • Anonymous

    Briefly, an analogy:

    “bonus” game is like a parade of buffet tables & everyone playing is running from table to table;
    each new bonus or “angle” is another new buffet table offering new “free” food;
    if one wants something from each table, one has to get there before its empty;
    if one is missing out more than one wants, one has to improve one’s skill set;
    info via this blog is one of many skills; negotiating, getting info early, etc., are other skills;
    Blame no one but yourself if you get to a table late & all is gone, IMO;
    (remember: one skill is convincing waiters to bring you “late” plates)

  • Anon2

    Totally agree. I’m a fan of your site, Brian, and a daily reader, but the fact of the matter is that kickbacks (which I’m totally cool with) muddy the waters. I remember the post about the Amex thing – and it was like “Amazing deal – get 75k + 50k!” (no one even got the 50k). The fact is that you profited – perhaps significantly – and many or most didn’t get what they expected (other than a hard pull and lost opportunity cost when they could’ve met the required spend on another card).

    That isn’t your problem, exactly, since Amex is the one who pulled it back, and everyone has to know that their MMV, but it does create an uncomfortable situation.

  • James

    I had applied for 3 cards in March and had 2 bonus bumps accepted. The Business Gold using 5497 was added in June, with promise of immediate post. Had called every 2 weeks(10 in total averaging 15 minutes per call), involving 3 different supervisors who all agreed I was entitled, only to never have them post blaming a technical error. I was even told on 2 occasions to overdraw my points as I was a Platinum Cardholder and the points would be posting shortly. Escalated to Executive offices and was told to submit in writing which I did 2 weeks ago. Received the 1 month letter last night. I’m starting to think maybe I don’t deserve the points…NAHHH!

    My next step is to take 10 people, a dog, a Giraffe, and a former American Idol Winner to the 200 Vesey Street Address!

    Never surrender, never give up!

  • Mrcandoit

    First of all, I don’t think you did anything wrong. Making individuals aware of an opportunity is different than being responsibe for the outcome. Secondly, Amex should, key word is should, be aware that as a multinational corporation operating in a diverse and increasingly complex online world that unless you advertive loudly and widely that this is a targeted opportunity only available to an individual, that others will politlely request if they can also take part. My own story with Amex: Signed up for personal Platinum in mid-July. Sent written MR message in late July for 100,000k points instead of 25k points. Nada. In early August called MR and asked for the points. Agent asked for a code. I gave it to her. She asked why I wanted the points and I told her because I wanted to use the points to book a hotel room for my impending honeymoon. She put me on hold for 3 minutes and said with supervisor approval, she would put a note in the record that after I reached the spend, 6-8 weeks later I’d see the 100k total. I thanked her profusely for making a difference and appreciated her work. I wrote her name, date and time of call down. I called 7 weeks later and was told by a different MR agent that I could not receive the points. I asked to speak to an MR supervisor and I asked for her to read the note placed into my account by the first agent. She said there was no note and that I would not receive the points. Noted the super’s name, date and time. At that point, I wrote the VP of Customer Relations a polite and professional letter explaining the entire situation and asking for him to double check the calls because in fact a promise had been made and been broken. No promise, I would have moved on but that was not the case. It has been a couple of weeks since I sent the letter and I have heard nothing even though I asked for the courtesy of a reply. At this point, I don’t expect points nor a reply but hey, since this is the way they treat customers, why would I want my business to be a part of this company? I’m thinking of pulling Amex from the cards we accept at work and move my business (high 6 figures or more annually) to another vendor. Caveat emptor anyone?

  • JNYC

    I was able to get the 100k point for platinum. They almost rejected me, but I wrote to them explaining how I’m always referring their cards to my patients and friends (which many have sign up for) and that it was noted in my account. They wrote back for me to call and the gentleman bumped me as he saw that I qualified for it, and thanked me for the referrals I give. But, if I wouldn’t have gotten them, I wouldn’t have been bitching around for something I wasn’t targeted for. People here blaming you, or even Amex and talking how Amex has declined in customer service need to realize that they are bitching over something that wasn’t even for them in the first place. I was grateful to Amex and you for getting points that I wasn’t even aware of in the first place. People here need to grow up and stop kicking around like kids when they can’t get a toy that was not theirs in the first place.

  • david

    TPG you offer great information for free I cannot believe readers would send you anything else but compliment thanks or maybe constructive feedback. Your blog is one of the best out there and I really appreciate what you are doing for us/me. I cannot even imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you, please don’t let a few idiotic comments bother you, and keep the deals coming.


  • Mbhou921

    brian, i want to say thank you for all the information you provide. i have learned a lot. people need to realize it is a game, for us, and the card companies. some people don’t seem to take into account their own personal status, that most offers will be targeted to potentially lucrative customers. i spend $30k-40K annually on my amex card and they treat me as such. conversely i can’t even get them to switch my chase marriott rewards visa to a premier card because i don’t spend much with them. i was able to take advantage of the citi AA amex/visa 150K bonus and i can’t praise you enough for leading me to that. i play the game responsibly and do a lot of thinking before clicking “accept” on the next big opportunity. life rarely gives you something for nothing.

  • Guesty McGuesterson

    You attract more bees with honey than with vinegar …

    It can be frustrating sometimes, dealing with customer “service” reps, but if you didn’t originally sign up for the credit card with the 100k offer, but tried to get a bump by using another code after you submitted your application, you aren’t entitled to anything except what the company offered as its incentive when you signed up. I signed up for the Platinum AmEx under the 50k bonus, only to learn about a month affter the fact there was a 100k bonus that had been offered at some point either in the past or the interim. And only about a month after I learned of the 100k bonus, did I even bother (actually, have the time to even deal with) to attempt to get the additional 50k. It took several tries — exactly as Brian suggested it might — but some cajoling and being nice to people actually worked out in the end and my bonus posted while I was on the phone with the rep when it finally happened (I saw it live on the MR site).

    Whoever sent the nastygram to Brian — you need to chillax and remember that, unlike the points (and probably everything else in life you think you are entitled to) you are fighting for, a smile is free — and goes a long way.

  • bitachu

    if you have a secured message in writing..then you might get it..has it been 8 weeks since spending completed?

  • bitachu

    yeah i read about it..i asked Discover on twitter and they confirmed

  • Dan


    I signed up for the AmEx PRG under the lame 10k bonus because I needed some as many points as possible to transfer to Continental. I did this around March, knowing that I had to get them out by September. I wasn’t imagining a huge use of MR points elsewhere, so I took the lame standard bonus not knowing what would come later.

    100,000 bump points later, I can’t complain that the MR gravy train has come to a screeching halt. I called and asked for the 75k bump, but only got up to 50k instead, from a *really* nice rep. In August, I did the 10k per AU bump, and although got some initial flak, I was able to collect 60k from that. Throw in the BA 50% bonus, and, well, I got a *lot* of points.

    I haven’t tried my luck with collecting on the 6664 promo yet. But if AmEx shoots me down, the highest I will go is a supervisor. I won’t go for writing the SVP. I haven’t been a profitable charge product customer, so I can’t throw weight around.

    I don’t blame AmEx for shutting down the gravy train. They’ve given me at least $1000 in MR points, and that has got to be costing their marketing department some real money.

    However, much like airline status is only about “what have you done for me today”, so is the bank with whom I do a majority of my credit card spend. My AA personal card was up for renewal; yesterday I called and asked what they could do to make it worth my while to remain a customer. They gave me a choice: waive the annual fee, and give me an extra point per dollar spent up to $750 for 12 months. I took it, but then after a snafu, the rep said I could have a different one: Pay the annual fee, and get an extra 4 points per dollar spent, up to 25,000. Sold. So Citi is getting that business from me, and my annual fee. I will continue to do this with each of my issuers as necessary. I have the capacity to charge $2k per month, so although not a high spender, I have got to be higher than average.

    Thanks for your hard work.

  • Ih8mayo

    Exactly — when there are specific $$ being fed to him for each application that goes through asking people to take risks while he’s guaranteed a payout is tricky.

    Though I imagine Amex isn’t too happy with him over spreading what were meant to be private codes and smearing the mess around.

  • Vespa_girl

    Hey Brian- Thanks for your continual work you put into your blog. I didn’t have success with any codes/phone calls on the AMX premier Gold , and after 4 attemps, sure, I was a little bitter for a couple days, but YMMV, and sh*t happens. I got over it, and am at least happy to look at my different mileage accounts today as opposed to a year ago, they ‘ve grown significantly, thanks to information I have followed posted on blogs such as yours and FTG. Too bad that dude was lashing out at you but I don’t think it’s really that big of deal. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

  • David

    How often do vendors accept Discover outside the US? Just wondering…

  • Anonymous

    Nothing in life is for free. For the most part as adults we need to know what were getting in to. If you don’t like what this and other sites have to offer, change the channel. I for one have flown for pennies on the dollar with a family of 6 it makes a difference. If I don’t get an offer or make it on time, oh well. If TPG makes a small amount for providing a link so be it. You can go to another site or directly to the card issuer if you don’t want anyone making a gain for a referral. I thank TPG and other similar sites because in my household there are 4 Delta Diamonds and 2 Gold, and I am looking forward to banking close to 100K miles with US Air real soon!

  • Oo933k

    Are you kidding? Amex is delighted with blogs that review their cards, post links to signups, and even post codes. Amex retains all control over MR points distribution but gets many, many more people to sign up. It’s win-win for them.

  • Flyer Fun

    Discover purchased Diner’s Club International from Citi in 2008. The new Discover Card has a Dinners Club logo on the back. I assume that means that anyone that accepts Dinners iternationally will accept the card. I do not know how widely accepted Dinners is internationally.

  • PJ

    I have been taking out Taiwan Dollars out of the ATM with PLUS logo. 7 times so far each time the foreign exhange rate is right on the interbank whole sale rate.. ie When they charge you foreign exchange fees DONT BITE IT. Manage to have a DEBIT card with PLUS logo, take the cash out of ATM a small onconvenience but i saves. Also I am happy to report CHase Freedom is now rebating 5 % on dining as one of promoted categories.. Well chase fx rate is downright sharp no hanky panky as many would suspect give them 3 % i do keep the 2% Still and the 5 % earned on Dining will be swept into Sapphire Preferred. Echoing ” CHASE FREEDOM AND SAPPHIRE PREFERRED is a powerful combination” plus the 10 % bonus 10 cents each swipe when you have checking account with them.
    I do have Sapphire Preferred wtih me.. but the Freedom card is a winner after Fees by a small margin.
    Glad to know Discover card is waiving “BOGUS” foreign exchange fees. I usually load up my Subway Burger king quick cards to maximize the rebate..

  • PJ

    i have a favorite restuarant in Los Cabo; IT TAKES Discover and on the 4th quarter DINING gets 5 % rebate. tho not on 1500 cap . One Time share there takes Discover as well on 1st quarter and rebate me 5 % on travel category when I pay maintenance fees

  • mike a.

    I believe that in the terms and conditions, Amex states that they may discontinue any bumps at any time for no reason…

  • PJ

    cheer up; life goes on

  • Jonathan Futrell

    If someone is writing you to complain about not getting their points then they are just a leach – this community is full of go getters who will get the points, most likely, because of persistence. This person clearly gave up too early – amex is still generous, I got the Columbia B-school promo plus the double dip plus an additional 12,500 because I called in to cancel yesterday. So far out of the amex promo, I’ve gotten 130,000 points for spending $3,000. I found about these offers through guys like TPG but they don’t do the follow through. You’re just the catalyst to get the points, it takes hours on the phone to make it work. This person clearly just wants even MORE for free and you should ignore them.

  • HappyReader

    Seriously? That angry reader who sent you a blame email should get a life. What a childish behavior of blaming the messenger! I myself have enjoyed and benefited tremendously from the plethora knowledge you have posted here, even though I don’t get things I wanted all the time.

  • PJ

    I was denied Argentine bonus 8 authorized users all together will ‘harass” AMEX again ; more than ” AMEX notated on my accounts, amex even sent out cards for AU’s to my residence.

  • PJ

    i have 4 bumps to collect; of course all ” accounts notated”.. counting the time to call

  • StevenS

    Okay. Time to post this guy’s email address so we can all write directly to him!

    Only kidding. His upset should clearly and ONLY be with AMEX.

  • Johrmk

    hey guys you need to cut Brian some slack. This is a FREE blog not a paid product. I have received a few awesome offers thanks to this blog. Quit blaming the messenger and get a life!

  • Carla5contreras

    I am very sorry someone took this personnal…i have not received the 75k they offer me, but my husband did. I an not happy with this but i will never blame it on you. I appreciate your great advices and help…i will try your suggestions and let you know…have a great evening…

  • PJ

    hehehe 75K went into my wife’s new gold account without asking . She applied on the : Refer premier gold program and I ( the account manager) asked to have account notated to receive the bump. the 75K came in right after the statement was monthly cut with the 1K spend

  • cockermom

    I applied in June based on the 25K bonus for Amex Platinum. After waiting the required time, I wasn’t getting my points and I kicked off an email / secure message and the anonymous person answering it – twice – said I was not eligible. So – on Friday – I called member services and they said they had to send these for research. Today – Monday – I received a phone call from the research department and they said they were crediting my account 25000 points and another 1500 for the delay.

    I odn’t know if it helped that I am spending about $5K per month on Amex now, or if I could logically discuss WHY I applied (fee is too high, but airport lounge access was important and I would have to renew my Admiral’s Club membership anyway) and that I figured the 25,000 points at least made the annual fee bearable…

    But – they treated me well.

    Of course – last month, I got the Mercedes Benz 50,000 point AMEX Platinum offer via email – figures….

    But – pleased with the outcome and glad I called instead of railing away via email to customer service in India.

  • Sachin Dante

    Applied in Aug 2011, not targeted but was promised on the phone the 6661 bump, did not get, called and was blown off, asked to speak to a manager… he blew me off but said he would send it in for inquiry… miles have now been credited to my account. sweet.

  • Agee19

    I too am caught up in the Bump up fiasco, I did everything you suggested to no avail. Last month i sent a detailed letter to the Corporate office. No reply.
    Now what? Anything? or should I just admit they beat me and move on to the next promotion

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